Thursday, 18 December 2014


Martina and I parted ways in hcmc I went on to Phnom Penh and she went to sihanoukville for 2 days (beach resort in Cambodia).  Oddly we bumped into each other at the Vietnamese border - turns out I had booked the luxury bus with wifi and comfortable seats win!  Crossing the land border from Vietnam to Cambodia was an experience, queues do not exist and officials try to scam you (even when there is a sign over their heads advertising the official fee for a visa).

The one thing I have realized with traveling is the scariest times is when you're moving from place to place as this is when you have ALL your possessions with you and everyone you pass by is aware of this. You're constantly on guard and trying to keep a close eye on all your belongings.

Once over the border you were immediately struck by the difference in development between Vietnam and Cambodia. The roads in Cambodia (apart from in the cities) are practically non existent. Ironically once you arrive in PP the disparity between rich and poor becomes hugely obvious, there are a lot more cars here than in Vietnam and they are all expensive SUVs.  In fact I think I saw more range rovers in PP than in Chelsea!


I've already written about my expediter owner working with the kids at LRDE AND SFODA on Facebook but I still can't help thinking about their adorable faces and how happy they all were even though they had so little in life

The week at the volunteer house was really difficult.  On the first day I was shown my room and immediately noticed the drain for the shower was uncovered, the first thing I thought of was cockroaches.  Needless to say 2 hours later when I went to have a shower there was a cockroach roaming around.  I mustered all my mental strength to 'remove' it from my bathroom but it was swiftly followed by another cockroach.  The thought of spending a week trying to get rid of cockroaches filled me with dread so I came up with an innovative solution to block the drain yet still allow water to flow down it!

Once Martina was back in town I spent all my free time with her back at her luxury resort.  Cambodians are the friendliest and most appreciative people I have ever met and even though there were times when I didn't feel safe (especially at night) it was so lovely to see how much they appreciated my work. I spoke to some of the employees at Martina's hotel about what I was doing and they all individually thanked me so many times and allowed me to use all the facilities as if I was a paying guest.

While in PP we went to cost the killing fields and S21, the former was extremely well curated and had an excellent audio guide. At this point you have to excuse my ignorance but I didn't realize the Cambodian  war continued on into the late 90s.  It is truly shocking to see what human beings are capable of doing to each other.

After a week we moved on to siem reap via the bumpiest 7 hour bus ride along dirt road, not an experience I will quickly repeat.  

Road from PP to SR

Again Martina kindly let me share her room at her lovely resort. We watched the sun rise over Angkor wat,visited the war museum where the guides are all ex war veterans and each has their own harrowing story about their life during the war.

Sunrise over Angkor Wat
Temples at Angkor Wat

Butterfly centre
 Met up with Tom and Gaby and another friend of theirs, we took a 2 hour tuk tuk out to the jungle and then rode motorbikes to the top of a mountain where we saw a beautiful reclining buddha carved out of a rock and swam in a gorgeous waterfall.

Stick insect

Reclining Buddha

A lot of people think SR is too touristy and I can see what they mean with the lights of pub street but I think overall SR is a really pretty little town with loads of great restaurants and stunning scenery.


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